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Yale University Admissions Consulting Services

Yale University Admissions Guidance

 

What is Yale Looking For?

 

Yale’s residential college system and focus on providing a

liberal arts education make it a popular choice for many

top applicants. Applications at Yale are evaluated by

committees comprised of admissions staff, Yale faculty

and deans. The primary questions they ask during the

evaluation are “Who is likely to make the most of Yale’s

resources?” and “Who will contribute most significantly to

the Yale community?”

 

Yale rates every applicant in two separate areas on a 1 to 4 scale (1 being the highest and 4 being the lowest): (1) Academic Rating and (2) Personal Rating.

 

Yale, like all Ivy League schools, looks for students with a deep intellectual curiosity. An applicant with the highest Academic Rating of 1 out of 4 at Yale would have these credentials:

 

  • Top 1-2% of high school class

  • Most challenging courseload of AP courses

  • SAT/ACT and SAT II scores in the 99th percentile

  • Glowing letters of recommendation indicating that student is best out of applicants from past several years from his/her high school

  • Intense love of learning, as evidenced by academic research outside the classroom with a college professor leading to publication in a journal

  • Potential to be leader in academic field in future

 

An applicant with an Academic Rating of 2 out of 4 at Yale would have these credentials:

 

  • Top 5% of high school class

  • Most challenging courseload of AP courses

  • SAT/ACT and SAT II scores above the 95th percentile

  • Strong but unexceptional letters of recommendation

  • Lacking the intense love of learning of other students, with some independent reading outside the classroom but no published research with a college professor

  • Driven to achieve by competition more so than by a true love of learning

 

Yale, like all Ivy League schools, looks for students who are specialists as opposed to those who are well-rounded. Examples of applicants with the highest Personal Rating of 1 out of 4 at Yale would be:

 

  • Published author

  • Intel STS Finalist (top 40 in country)

  • Olympic medalist

  • Soloist at Carnegie Hall

  • US Math Olympiad Qualifier (USAMO)

  • Awards at the national level

  • Patent pending (without parental involvement)

 

Examples of applicants with a Personal Rating of 2 out of 4 at Yale would be:

 

  • Awards at regional level

  • Significant commitment at a high level to a few activities

  • Student Body President

  • All-State Orchestra

  • Captain of varsity sports team

  • Nationally ranked debater

  • Well-rounded and involved but not the most passionate about anything

 

Because the applicant pool is so stellar at Yale with an overflow of people who have the highest academic qualifications, recommendation letters at Yale are critical to distinguish perfect students who are good from perfect students who are great. Yale looks closely for evidence of intellectual vitality, leadership and the potential for contribution in the recommendation letters.

 

During the past decade, Yale has made a push to compete for top engineering students who usually end up at Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Princeton. Since Yale’s engineering program has historically lagged behind the above mentioned schools’ engineering programs, Yale is very receptive to strong engineering applicants.

 

 

Approaching the Yale Supplemental Essays

 

Solomon Admissions provides extensive guidance on the Yale supplemental essays to its clients, and here is an example of how our former admissions officers would recommend approaching the Yale supplementals:

 

Why does Yale appeal to you? (100 words or less)

 

The “Why Yale” question is an important supplemental question at Yale. Applicants must address why their learning style and academic interests fit with the academic philosophy at Yale.

 

Applicants often make the mistake of stating cliché reasons that everyone applying to Yale mentions - the residential college system, the great theater program, etc. We at Solomon Admissions recommend that students take an academic approach to this question. One compelling way to answer this question would be to research the major you plan on pursuing at Yale and why Yale provides undergraduate research and other academic opportunities within this major that other comparable schools cannot offer. You must state a compelling case for why Yale is the only place where you can get the education you seek.

 

 

For more information about the college application process,

contact us at 1.646.598.8174 or info@solomonadmissions.com